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8. Details of Individual Metadata Elements

8.15 Container To Date




Identifying Attributes




To Date

Defined by

Government of Canada Records Management Metadata Standard - containerToDate

Element URI

[To be actioned by Treasury Board of Canada, Secretariat before publication]

Definitional Attributes


The date of the latest record in a container upon closure of the container.


To provide the date range of records within a container.

To assist in organizing records in a chronological date order.

To facilitate the process of retention and disposition.


"Techniques to ensure capture of records may include …b) arrangement in a logical structure and sequence, whether a physical file or an electronic directory, which facilitates subsequent use and reference,…d) systems which profile or template the actions undertaken in doing business, which …2) provide evidence of where a record is located…" ISO International Standard 15489-1, s. 9.3

Value Domain

A range of dates expressed using the Gregorian calendar.

Datatype Name



Applicable at file level only.


Mandatory, if applicable, at file level.

Relational Attributes

Encoding Scheme

ISO International Standard 8601 [W3CDTF] as adopted by TBITS 39: Treasury Board Information Management Standard, Part 1: Government On-Line Metadata Standard


Container; Container From Date; Record Date; Retention Trigger Date

Conditions of Application - Record




Pre Record Declared Locked

Post Record Declared Locked





Conditions of Application - File




Yes, by authorized official only.


Not repeatable

Comments and Guidance

a) Explanation of Definition/Usage

This element is intended to identify the latest Record Date of any record within the particular container and may not necessarily be the same date that a container is closed. In an analog system, it is possible that all the records in the container will have the same date. Given that the Record Date in a digital environment is automatically tied to the record, this element is most applicable to an analog environment.

This element is not to be confused with Event Date/Time which logs the date and time when an action was performed on a record or file and which is in many cases system generated.

b) Best Practices

It is likely that the label for this element will differ depending on the context on the container. If it is a file, it is possible that the label will be File To Date. If it is a box, the label may be Box To Date.

This date is used to trigger retention actions for subject files, therefore institution-specific business rules should be used to determine the assignment of the Container To Date (e.g. to always assign a Container To Date of a file to be the middle or the end date of the month). This will assist in automating retention processes within institutions.

The value of Container To Date may be modified by an authorized official only.

c) Obligation

This element is mandatory, if applicable, because there is a records management requirement to manage information through its life cycle. The value of Container To Date adds context to the container and can be used for processing retention and disposition.

In many instances, institutions use the value of Container To Date as the Retention Trigger Date.

Recommended best practice is to format the value for this element as YYYY-MM-DD.

d) Default Values/Auto-populate

Given that the metadata value of the Container To Date can easily precede the actual closing date of the container, this element cannot be auto-populated nor defaulted.

e) Linkages

This element has the same linkages as Container From Date, but also has a link to Retention Trigger Date since the value of Container To Date can directly affect the value of the Retention Trigger Date. If an institution determines that the Container To Date will be used as the Retention Trigger Date for operational files, then a change in the value of this element will automatically change the value of the Retention Trigger Date.

f) Examples

  1. "2005-09-13" - A file is closed on September 15, 2005, but the latest date of the records contained in the file is September 13, 2005.

  2. "2005-10-31" - The latest date of a record in a file is October 20, 2005. The institution-specific business rule says to assign a To Date of the end of the month to the container in which it assigned. The Container To Date will be 2005-10-31.

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